Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows

Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows
Rania Nashar, Samba Financial Group CEO, was Saudi Arabia’s first female chief executive. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 May 2021

Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows

Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows
  • 71 percent of MENA companies made progress on gender diversity
  • MENA ranked last in female representation on boards

TEXAS: Organizations in the Middle East and North Africa are among those to have made the most progress in gender distribution over the past five years, according to a survey by CEO community YPF.
In the MENA region, 71 percent of companies have made progress in this area, second only to Latin America at 73 percent, and ahead of South Asia at 68 percent, YPF said in its first Global Chief Executive Gender Equality Survey of 2,079 CEOs from 106 countries.
YPF’s sample included 23 percent female CEOs, which compares with a global figure of 5 percent, it said.
The report showed that gender inequality increases with seniority. While 39 percent of employees at respondent companies were female, 30 percent of senior management were women and 20 percent of board directors.
However, there has been considerable progress on the measure in the past five years with 24 percent reporting a “somewhat more diverse” board of directors in that time frame and 16 percent “significantly more diverse.” Among senior managers, the respective numbers are 34 percent and 18 percent.


Companies in the Middle East and North Africa have the least gender diverse boards, the survey showed. However, while just 16 percent of directors were women in the MENA region, the figure was not much better in Europe (21 percent) and the US (20 percent).
“There are a lot of things to be done to encourage the empowerment of women,” Reem Osman, CEO of Saudi German Hospital Group, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “As the data shows, having more women in the C-suite is empowering more women, giving women more senior positions and recruiting more women.”
Companies globally with women on the board are more likely than their male-led counterparts (46 percent vs. 37 percent) to offer services that help women reach the top, such as female leadership and mentoring programs, the survey showed. Almost one third of female CEOs offered flexible work arrangements at their companies compared with 21 percent for male respondents.
The biggest obstacle for CEOs in the MENA region was a lack of mentors, with 51 percent citing that as the main challenge compared with 36 percent in the rest of the world.


Saudi ports throughput volumes rise more than 24% in April

Saudi ports throughput volumes rise more than 24% in April
Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi ports throughput volumes rise more than 24% in April

Saudi ports throughput volumes rise more than 24% in April

Saudi ports recorded a 24.28 percent increase in cargo throughput volumes in April 2022 compared to a year earlier, according to the latest release by Mawani, the Saudi Ports Authority.

Some 20.47 million tons went through the nine ports managed by the authority, compared to 16.47 million in April 2021.

The rise in cargo throughput volume was driven by a 30.42 percent increase in general cargo, at a total of 0.847 million tons.

There was also a 0.04 percent increase in dry bulk cargo at 4.197 million tons, and a 33.35 percent increase in liquid bulk cargo with a total of 15.24 million tons.

The container throughput volumes decreased by three percent compared to April 2022 — to 594,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units.

This decrease is attributed to the 17.3 percent decrease in transshipment containers that totaled 219,000 TEU in April 2022. 

Exported and Imported containers grew by 1.80 percent and 13.4 percent respectively.

According to the Mawani release, Saudi ports recorded 1,129 vessels in April, 66,900 cars, 1.652 million tons of food, 45,459 passengers, and 446,539 unloaded livestock.

 


Kuwait Q1 consumer prices rise 4.4% percent year-on-year

Kuwait Q1 consumer prices rise 4.4% percent year-on-year
Updated 25 May 2022

Kuwait Q1 consumer prices rise 4.4% percent year-on-year

Kuwait Q1 consumer prices rise 4.4% percent year-on-year

RIYADH: Kuwait saw a 4.4 percent rise in consumer price inflation in the first quarter of 2022 year-on-year driven by steps to contain COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict’s impact on the global supply chain, according to the country’s National Bank.

The report issued by the economic research department of the bank, however, said the US Fed-driven tightening monetary policies may soften inflation.

The rate of inflation rose a mere 0.1 percent from the previous quarter.

Moreover, the country witnessed an increase of 4.4 percent and 4.7 percent year-on-year in consumer price and core inflation respectively, versus a corresponding 4.3 percent and 4.6 percent in December 2021.

Food price inflation stood at a rate of 7.2 percent in March 2022, depicting elevated prices despite a slight drop from March 2021. Food and beverages weighed 17 percent in the 2021 consumer price index, and so played a significant role in headline inflation.

Kuwait’s housing prices rose 2.3 percent year on year in March.

“The indications are that after several years of stagnation, prices could start firming as landlords look to recoup higher construction costs and as demand in the mid-level expatriate rental market stabilizes after the pandemic,” the report said.

The most impactful price rises in Kuwait’s core inflation, which disregards food and housing, was recorded in education, clothing and transport at 19 percent year-on-year, +5.7 percent and +4.8 percent.

Global inflationary pressures are expected to extend in 2022. “The inflation outlook in 2022 is likely to be one of persistent price pressures, especially amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict, which is having an outsized impact on global food and energy prices,” the report added.

According to the report, US Fed’s tightening monetary policies may have a positive impact on Kuwait as well since its currency is partially pegged to the dollar.


UAE telecom firm e& launches the region’s first telco NFT collection

UAE telecom firm e& launches the region’s first telco NFT collection
Updated 25 May 2022

UAE telecom firm e& launches the region’s first telco NFT collection

UAE telecom firm e& launches the region’s first telco NFT collection

RIYADH: UAE telecom company e&, formerly known as Etisalat Group, has launched the Middle East’s first set of non-fungible tokens, it said in a statement. 

“At this defining moment in our journey, we are proud to leverage our legacy in blockchain-enabled tech to launch pioneering NFTs that allow us and our customers to explore the limitless potential that the metaverse holds,” Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, e&, said.

In support to the local development of products, the company said the NFTs designs were sourced in the UAE, with the first set planned to be distributed selectively.

“The metaverse is opening up several avenues for us to investigate the digital realm in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago,” he added

This comes in line with e&’s commitment to advancing tech capabilities, the company said.

NFTs are digital assets with unique codes stored on a blockchain that establish their authenticity and who owns them.


Saudi digital logistics firm RedBox raises $5m in a pre-series A funding round

Saudi digital logistics firm RedBox raises $5m in a pre-series A funding round
Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi digital logistics firm RedBox raises $5m in a pre-series A funding round

Saudi digital logistics firm RedBox raises $5m in a pre-series A funding round

RIYADH: Saudi-based smart parcel lockers company, RedBox, has raised $5 million in a pre-series A funding round led by RAAF Holding Company and Mad’a Investments, MAGNiTT reported.

The company, which recently launched its services in Qatar and Bahrain, wants to use this funding to expand into other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, starting with the UAE, then Kuwait and Oman.

Established in 2019, the startup provides last-mile services in the logistics sector through its network of smart lockers stations and currently has its operation spread across 18 cities in the Kingdom. 

The digital logistics company plans to have 800 stations by the end of this year.


UAE’s Farnek to reduce electricity, water, fuel consumption by 30% by 2028

UAE’s Farnek to reduce electricity, water, fuel consumption by 30% by 2028
Updated 25 May 2022

UAE’s Farnek to reduce electricity, water, fuel consumption by 30% by 2028

UAE’s Farnek to reduce electricity, water, fuel consumption by 30% by 2028

RIYADH: UAE-based property management company Farnek hopes to reduce electricity, water, refrigerants, and fuel consumption by 30 percent over the span of the upcoming five years, according to a statement, citing the firm’s associate director of sustainability, Nada Ibrahim.

The firm also intends to cut waste by 10 percent, as well as lower the emissions associated with purchased goods and services by five percent, the associate director disclosed. 

Established in the 1980s, Franek aims to slash emissions across those categories by 50 percent by 2031. The company is also targeting 90 percent reduction in its carbon footprint by 2048, she added.

To achieve this, the firm has developed an online solution referred to as Optimizer in order to carry out as well as benchmark energy, water, and waste audits. 

In line with the UAE’s strategic initiative, those goals fall under Farnek’s roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Ibrahim revealed.